Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Scott Air Force Base Takes to the Sky to Celebrate 100 Years and Thank Community

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Scott Air Force Base Takes to the Sky to Celebrate 100 Years and Thank Community

Article excerpt

John Bossler, 57, grew up on a farm just two miles from Scott Air Force Base. He remembers pilots flying so close as they turned around that he could see the stars on their helmets. Officers often bought sweet corn and other fruits and vegetables from his dad's produce stand.

As a third-grader, he remembers spending weekends with a friend who lived on the base, going to its swimming pool and movie theater.

At a Catholic school he attended in nearby Belleville, one yellow bus picked up the civilians, while five blue buses picked up kids from the base. Every year, his classes would be filled with new kids.

Those memories and others came flooding back Saturday as Bossler and his wife, Nancy Bossler, now living 25 miles away in Highland, returned to the base for the 2017 Centennial Airshow and Open House, which continues until 5 p.m. Sunday.

Thousands of people filled the airfield and runways to enjoy the air show, which included a recreation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by Tora! Tora! Tora! and aerobatics by the Thunderbirds, the demonstration squadron of the U.S. Air Force. Historic and state-of-the-art aircraft were open for tours.

"It's nice to come back and know that I was here before," Bossler said. That "before" was when the population sign on his hometown of Shiloh said 350. He remembers as a child watching the number on that sign reach 750. Now that number is nearly 13,000.

The air show the first in five years not only celebrates the 100th anniversary of the base but also serves as a thank you to the surrounding St. Clair County community for its role in helping the base grow from a pilot training program during World War I to the nation's premier transportation and cyberdefense hub.

Scott Air Force Base is the fourth-oldest continuously active base in the Air Force, providing round-the-clock supplies and transportation needs for the entire U.S. military and humanitarian aid around the world. With 12,500 employees, it is the seventh-largest employer in the metro area, according to the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

"For the last 100 years, we have grown together and formed an unbreakable bond," Scott Air Force Base Installation Commander Col. …

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